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Title: The relationship between poverty, holiday-taking and social policy : with specific reference to low-income families.
Author: Smith, Vanessa Jeannette Emile.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3468 0858
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 1998
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Holiday participation, whilst widespread in modern Western societies, is not universal. Evidence points to the existence of a 'tourist class', the number of holidays taken varying directly with socicreconomic status. Studies of tourist motivation, such as those by Dann (1977), Crompton (1979) and Krippendorf (1984), have suggested that holidays provide necessary breaks from the stresses and rigours of everyday li,fe. Yet it is precisely those who are likely to gain most from the benefits a holiday ca~ bring who are least able to afford one., Contemporary researchers into poverty such as Townsend (1979) and Mack and Lansley (1985), have included an enforced lack of holiday-taking as a symbol of relative deprivation in post-industrial society. This study contributes to the understanding of the diversity of touristic experience by exploring the meaning and significance of the holiday for a particular sub-group of Haukeland's (1990) category C non-travellers: disadvantaged families with young children. Historical studies of sport and leisure-related activities indicate how, since the early 20th Century, successive governments of differing political ideologies have intervened with market forces in an attempt to make opportunities to participate in sport available to all. This contrasts sharply with holiday-taking where the State does not currently recognise participation in holiday-taking as a universal need. Research into the voluntary sector in Britain, such as that carried out by the Wolfenden Committee (1978), has highlighted inconsistencies in provision of services where charitable bodies are the sole, or major, suppliers. However, voluntary organisations such as the Family Holiday Association (FHA) remain virtually the sole source of financial assistance enabling low-income groups to participate in holiday-taking. The initial stage of this study was a content analysis of letters written to the FHA by a sample of families on their return from a recent holiday. Topics generated by both this analysis and the survey of literature were subsequently explored further by means of in-depth, tape-recorded interviews held with five social workers and members of 10 disadvantaged families. A number of meanings were attached to the holiday, many of them focusing on the importance of 'change' or an escape from routine. A holiday was a positive experience away from home, which resulted in the strengthening of family ties and improvements in physical and, particularly, mental well-being. New experiences could be enjoyed which gave purpose to an otherwise meaningless lifestyle. Unlike Urry's (1990) 'gazers', this study group found, in the British seaside resort, the excitement and spectacle lacking in their own, everyday lives. The study discovered a geographical disparity in requests for, and allocation of, assisted holidays, alongside a supply of funds that was both irregular and ad hoc. Such findings confirm those of, for example, the Wolfenden Committee (1978), Johnson (1981) and Gratton and Taylor (1987) that voluntary provision is often irregular, not always providing services at point of need. It is argued, finally, that if 'Tourism for All', like 'Sport for All', is to be implemented on any meaningful scale, the informal, voluntary, public and commercial sectors need to be unified as providers of a 'mixed economy' of welfare. In this way, voluntary bodies such as the FHA, would be financially-supported by the government but would retain their critical role of identifying real needs and influencing policy. By taking account of the historical development of policy in the field of sport and leisure, future research might usefully explore the most effective ways of extending participation in holiday taking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social tourism; Deprivation